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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Walking On Eggshells

  1. FADE IN


  2. Act 1


  3. INT. STUDY - 10:30


  4. Smart phone in hand, PETER is reading a Quora answer request .


  5. PETER (V.O.): It's from one of my loyal fans.


  6. We see on screen: How did a host make you (as an invited guest) feel like you were walking on eggshells during your stay?


  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I've never had such an encounter.


  8. Pausing.


  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): If the relationship was weak, I wouldn't have been invited.


  10. Thinking.


  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Even if I was invited, I might not accept it. And if I accepted it, I wouldn't offend the host...and so I'd be walking on eggshells myself?


  12. Recalling.


  13. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Now, I can recall a similar incident in Summer, 1987.


  14. Act 2


  15. FLASHBACK


  16. EXT. STREETS, THE HAGUE - DAY (August 1987)


  17. Carrying a baggage, Peter stops at a house front.


  18. PETER (V.O.): Here it is. The secretariat of the Hague Academy of International Law arranged my 3-week stay here.


  19. Ringing the door bell, an old LADY (70s) opens the door.


  20. LADY: You must be Peter. You came from Hong Kong or London?


  21. PETER: Yes! Mrs Insinger. I actually came from Strasbourg, France. I've just done a Human Rights course there.


  22. LADY: Your room is on 1/F. Deposit your baggage and come down for dinner.


  23. PETER: Yes, it's already late in the day.


  24. INT. DINING ROOM - NIGHT


  25. Joining the host, Peter sees cornflakes, milk and some strawberries on the table.


  26. PETER (V.O.): It seems that's all.


  27. Following the host, Peter helps himself to the cold stuff.


  28. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Is it the Dutch way to eat like a pauper for dinner?


  29. Small talks.


  30. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I mustn't forget that I paid a modest half-board fee.

  31. END FLASHBACK


  32. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The next morning, I had the same for breakfast.


  33. Pausing.


  34. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Thereafter, after attending the Academy course, I had Nasi Goreng at Scheveningen instead.


  35. Pausing.


  36. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I was later introduced to her friend who was a former Dutch ConsuI-General to Hong Kong, I learned that my host was a diplomat's widow.


  37. Recalling.


  38. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): One morning, while I was leaving the house, I witnessed a heated exchange in Dutch between an aggressive woman outside and my defensive host.


  39. Recalling.


  40. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): As I was wondering, the woman remarked to me that she was the house owner and didn't permit my host to sublet the house.


  41. Pausing.


  42. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Feel like walking on eggshells, I made myself less visible by travelling elsewhere during weekends.


  43. Recalling.


  44. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In 2002, with the help from her diplomat friend, I revisited my former host in an elderly home.


  45. Recalling.


  46. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In her 90s, she just stared at me and didn't say a word.


  47. Pausing.


  48. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I gave her some money, she was a little responsive.


  49. Recalling.


  50. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Months later, I received a notice in Dutch about her death. And later, a similar notice of her diplomat friend.


  51. Act 3


  52. INT. STUDY - CONTINUOUS


  53. Peter uses his hand to support his head.


  54. PETER (V.O.): These memories are decades old.


  55. Pausing.


  56. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In August, 2014, my younger son and I had an European tour. One of our destinations was the Netherlands.


  57. Peter checks his diaries on screen.


  58. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Father and son spent 13 days together, from London to Rome. I still feel good.


  59. Selecting a windmill image from his phone, Peter inserts it to his Quora answer draft.


  60. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I'm grateful to my Quora fan for helping me to take good care of my memories.


  61. Peter taps Post on screen.


  62. FADE OUT


  63. THE END























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